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tv   The Ed Show  MSNBC  January 21, 2013 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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for purple mountains majesties, above the fruited plains. america, america, god shed his grace on thee ♪ ♪ and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea ♪ from sea to shining sea ♪
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. >> progress does not compel us to settle. >> the 57th inauguration, president obama delivered the most progressive speeches ever given by a chand der in chief. the president took the ceremonial oath of office on the steps of the united states capitol. president obama did not set out to lower expectations of his second term.
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instead, he established the goals of a progressive agenda. >> my fellow americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together for we, the people understand that our country cannot succeed when a very few barely make it. >> we believe america's prosperity must rest on the rise of the middle class. >> helping our fellow man rang throughout the second inaugural dress. he did not shy away from our moral obligation to each other ever. >> we are true to our creed when a little girl born into the poverty knows she has a chance to succeed as anyone else because she is american, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of god but also in our own. >> that is an american value. the speech focused on a range of american experiences with particular attention to the people's whose lives are so
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different from those in the top 2% in this country. this is a president who understands clearly that represents all americans. the connection that he's made with the american people is obvious by the way the president was received by this massive crowd here in washington today. you did not need to look very hard to find enthusiasm in the streets of d.c. these masses, these wage earners, these americans are the people the president of the united states represents. >> we do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. we recognize that any of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm.
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>> the president's commitment to the middle class was a benchmark of his presidential campaign. he has not abandoned these principles. in fact, he insisted on strengthening obligations to those who need help the most. >> we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice, not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes -- tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice. >> and clearly president obama did not ignore a policy agenda in his speech. he also took on the position to these policies. the president spoke at length about the threat of climate change and the desire and the dire consequences of doing something about it. >> we will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. >> he didn't stop there.
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the president went after the climate change deniers, daring them to stop progress at this point in time in history. >> some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. the path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult, but america cannot resist this transition. we must lead it. we cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries. we must claim its promise. >> this is not a president who is blind to the history of any given moment. today's inauguration ceremony was filled with moments of historical importance. myrlie evers williams, the widow of medgar evers became the first woman to deliver the inaugural prayer. poet richard blanco is the first latino to recite the inaugural
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poem, as well as the first openly gay american to perform the honor. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor became the first hispanic american to administer the oath of office when she swore in vice president joe biden. president obama spoke with these historical moments in mind during his speech. >> our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see america as a land of opportunity. >> in many ways, this speech was progressives. this is what we have been waiting for to hear for four years. the president is older now, and certainly wiser to the position about how washington works. but at least for today he will not let trivial politics derail the progressive course that this
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country is on. president obama looked out to the crowd on the national mall today and saw the full scope of america, young and old, rich and poor, black, white, hispanic, asian. he recognized the moment. he captured it. the mission he is charged with today is perhaps greater than his mission of four years ago. in 2009, he was of course there to lead us out of this economic tragedy that we were living in. in 2013, he needs to lead this country and make it the country that we all want to achieve. >> you and i as citizens had the power to set this country's course. you and i as citizens have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
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let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright. with common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future the precious light of freedom. thank you, god bless you, and may he forever bless these united states of america. >> we are the people, but it will take leadership to guide us to the more perfect union we desire. president obama today accepted the charge for four more years. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think tonight. tonight's question, will the president's goals be achieved in his second term in office? text a for yes. text b for no, to 622639. you can always go to our blog at
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ed.machines we'll bring you the results later on in the show. joining me is congressman keith ellison of minnesota, who is part of the congressional progressive caucus. congressman, good to have you with us tonight. >> always great to be here, ed. >> we are made for this moment. what does that mean? >> it means that we're up to the task at hand. and what is the task at hand? to meet the challenge of income and equality. i mean, the president specifically mentioned social security, medicare and medicaid, and then tied them all three to income equality and the need to face this challenge that, you know, some of us are doing really, really well, and most of us are struggling to get by. >> i'm saying it was a very progressive speech. >> yeah. >> your thoughts. you believe it was? did you expect that? >> as the coach here of the progressive caucus, it is my
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considered opinion that this was a progressive speech. it was a speech that any progressive could say that's what i'm talking about. i found myself spontaneously cheering in the middle of the speech. it was the kind of speech that made me feel really good, because he combined our common humanity, combined our need for economic, combined the better days are coming if we will step up to them and meet them. >> the republicans are complaining, saying he didn't reach out enough. what is your reaction to that? >> who are they talking about? this was an incredibly inclusive speech. you know, you had -- you had him talking to gay america, you had him talking to new americans, you had him talking to americans of a diverse economic backgrounds. even if you are a fortunate enough to be a rich person and no problem with that, you could feel good about this speech because it meant that this is the land of opportunity, and how can you climb up that ladder and
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then pull it up after you. i don't know what they meant. if they think that he is going to somehow start catering to the koch brothers agenda, they're just wrong. >> are we going to see a different republican agenda? i mean, it was four years of we're against everything. i mean, are we going to see that again, or do you see any movement at all from the conservatives that they're willing to work with this president? now that he has won two elections, and clearly the last one? >> you know, i hope so. we talk off camera -- >> you don't sound confident. >> well, here is the thing there are a lot of good folks in the republican caucus. i want to say that. and i mean that. but once they start voting, will they vote their conscience or will they vote what the tea party extremists demand. and that is the question. that's a question they have to answer. now some of their leaders said we're going to give -- we're going to take him out. our key agenda is to take out obama and make him a one-term president. they failed. i hope enough republicans are out there to do what is right now. >> congressman, four years ago tonight, there were a group of
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republicans that met at a restaurant. >> yes, there was. >> that set the course of obstruction. and they said we're going to say no to everything. what kind of dinner are they going to have tonight? >> is crow on the menu? >> i said that earlier today in our broadcast. they should probably be serving that today. but the point is, look what they have to show for it. they didn't do anything in the senate, okay. they wanted to defeat president obama. it didn't happen. you picked up seats in the house. >> sure did. >> the momentum, the polls are with the democrats on every major issue. would they dare obstruct the way they did in 112th? >> oh, yeah. but i think it's important to know if you just left the republicans and the democrats in a room, we could probably come out with some solutions. they articulate their values. we would fight for ours too. but you have these puppet masters out there like grover norquist, like the koch brothers. and the question is will the republicans cut those strings and do what is right for the american people. will they say we're in here to help -- to promote the common welfare. >> we're going to talk more about this later on in this broadcast. but i want your take on this. what can be done on immigration reform? tell me where the republicans are going to move on this issue.
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>> well, i tell you. they -- i think we're going to move forward, because i know people like luis gutierrez and others are absolutely committed. he tells me that they're working as they can in a cooperative way. but, you know, he is hopeful. and if he is hopeful, i'm hopeful. >> historical importance of today's speech in your opinion. >> it is a speech for the ages. i really believe that. it was inspiring. it was informative. it set a bold vision. and in my view, it is going to set a template for the next four years. >> what about the progressive caucus? are you going to hold the president's feet to the fire? >> absolutely. >> he is not up for reelection now.-election now. what are your expectations? >> the progressive caucus's role is not to be a cheerleader, nor to be an opponent of the president. it is to uphold progressive values no matter what the weather may be. and if he is doing good, we're going to back him. if he is deviating, we're going to call him, just like we said hey, man, knock off that chained cpi talk. but now today we're heaping about what he is saying about supporting the big three. it's not our job to cheerlead, be it is our job to hold him to the values. and today he lived up to our expectations. >> all right. congressman keith ellison, great to have you with us tonight.
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>> any time. >> thanks for coming in. remember, answer tonight's question at the bottom of the screen. share your thoughts on twitter and facebook. we want to know what you think. coming up, republicans say the president didn't do enough to reach out to them today. we'll talk about the big three and bipartisanship when we come back. you're looking at live pictures of the salute to heroes ball where the vice president is expected to speak shortly and we're awaiting the president's arrival at the commander in chief's ball. he's expected to speak within the hour and we'll bring that to you live here on "the ed show" on msnbc. stay with us. we're coming right back. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool
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president obama made equality for women and immigration reform focal points in his speech today.
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i'll ask now's terry o'neill and clarissa martinez what they expect. and later president obama gave a strong progressive speech today. now it's the republicans turn to make what move. will they be cooperative or will they obstruct? my commentary on that is ahead. don't forget, you can listen to my radio show at sirius xm radio monday through friday noon to 3:00 p.m. share your thoughts with us on facebook and twitter using the #edshow. we're coming right back. use your maxperks card and get a 10-ream case of officemax multiuse paper for just 4.99 after maxperks rewards. find thousands of big deals now... at officemax. do you guys ride? well... no. sometimes, yeah. yes. well, if you know anybody else who also rides, send them here -- we got great coverage. it's not like bikers love their bikes
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deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. >> thanks for staying with us here on "the ed show." a big focus is on the policy position that got him re-elected. >> the commitments that we make to each other through medicare, medicaid, and social security, they do not zap us, they strengthen us. they free us to take the risks that make this country great. >> the president basically called out republican congressman paul ryan, right there. ryan accused 60% of americans of being takers instead of makers. his party campaigned on reforming medicare, medicaid and social security, but ryan reportedly got booed as he walked through this morning. ryan's reception is a striking reminder of why the republicans lost the election. today the president assured groups like the aarp and labor he hasn't forgotten his promise. >> we must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.
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but we reject the belief that america must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. >> some republicans are complaining now that the president's speech was too partisan and didn't reach out enough. here is a news flash. this isn't about those republican lawmakers. this is about you, the american people and the policies that the president has put forth. it's about fixing the budget without burdening the poor in this country or the elderly or the disabled. the next four years are going to be very interesting. let's turn to john nichols, washington correspondent of "the nation" magazine. and john, "the nation" magazine was so impressed with the speech today that there was a lot of rewriting going on. >> yep. and i sometimes have to do a lot of that rewriting. >> remarkably progressive today? >> yeah, it was. we were struck by it. we set a high standard for this president. we don't let him off the hook
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when we disagree with him. we have editorialized critically about him. but i think there was a pretty strong sense today that not just on domestic policy, but even on some foreign policy, he moved. sometimes the criticism was he kept a little too much of bush, this was a breaking point. a lot of what lingered, some of the people, some of the policies seem to be pushed back now. >> was this the speech that liberals have been waiting for? >> sure it was. >> and now is it the foundation for the next several years? >> well, barack obama is a complicated man. we have to be honest about him. >> he is a deal maker. >> yeah, he is. and he is also a mediator. he really does believe in trying to bring people together. so we can't tell ourselves that he is going to give us everything we want. but what i thought from this speech was that he was saying, look, i know where you're at, the people who elected me. i know the coalition that elected me. if you keep the noise up, if you keep talking about this, i'll take care of you. i will watch for you. and he wasn't tossing them all under the bus.
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this was not a hey, i know you elected me, but now i can't do much for you. >> was it partisan? >> no. i mean, the thing is, we use the word partisan in the wrong way. >> but these are clearly principles that the republicans have seriously opposed and struggled with throughout. which would bring them to the conclusion that it was partisan. >> look, the republican party had a session down in virginia last week where they were talking about how they have to change, how they got to get their act together. they were told that by pollsters, by all sorts of messaging people. and so their partisanship is not of a standard that i think even they recognize as a wise one. they may whine about partisanship. >> the president echoed another second president's inaugural speech, and that was fdr in 1937. here it is. >> the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have
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much. it's whether we provide enough for those who have too little. >> when the president today early in his speech talked about that little girl. >> yeah. >> with a mom, who needs the same opportunities, talking basically about the level playing field. that the comparison? >> absolutely it is. it wasn't just there. roosevelt loved a structured speech where he made a big point and then he told you what he was trying to do. that's exactly what obama did when he kept saying we're not done with the journey on this. we're not done with the journey on this. he kept coming back thematically to not just the broad rhetorical flourishes, but specifics. you saw it on medicare, medicaid and social security. >> i'm fascinated. four years ago tonight, as i said this to keith ellison a moment ago, the republicans were plotting strategy to obstruct. what is their dinner tonight? i'll ask you the same thing. >> look, they just had a session where they were told they have to get their act together. they can't be hateful anymore. and what did the president say to them?
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i've got to do some immigration reform. i've got to welcome people, not push them away. we've got to be nicer to women. and gays and lesbians, our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. he gave them some space. if they want to show that they're not just about saying no, he gave them room. i hope they're listening. >> john nichols, great to have you with us. great work this week. today he made it clear he's got their back. terry o'neill and clarissa martinez will join me, coming up on "the ed show." and the president makes history in his second inaugural address and chronicles america's struggles for civil rights. i'll talk about the cultural impact of today's speech with jonathan alter and james peterson. stay tuned. you're watching the "ed show" on msnbc from washington. [ dad ] find it?
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>> our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see america as a land of opportunity. >> in many ways, this speech was progressives. he intends to fight on behalf of those who made his second term election possible. he was unapologetically progressive pushing the priorities of women and minorities, critical to his
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re-election. issues that were side lined in the first term were now front and center and called for comprehensive immigration opportunity and pay for women. >> it is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. >> the growing influence of latino and female voters in this country absolutely undeniable. in the inaugural ceremony reflected just that. and of course it is the identified problem of the republican party, no doubt about it. i'm joined tonight by terry o'neill, president of the national organization for women, and also with us this evening clarissa martinez, director of civic engagement and immigration at the national council of la raza. great to have both of you with us. >> thank you. >> based, terry, on what you saw today, what are your hopes for a second term? >> i am very hopeful, actually.
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we need to pass equal pay for work of equal value for women. we will not close the wage gap unless we get there. you know, right now almost two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. they don't have pensions. they don't have equal pay. and we really need to get there. i'm also hopeful that we're going to get, we're going to really expand health care opportunities for women, and we need to expand women's access to abortion and birth control. it's unfinished business from the first four years. but i think i loved this speech. and i take heart from it. and i think we will have real leadership from the white house. it's not going to be an easy battle, but i think the president is really going to be with us on this. >> clarissa, what about immigration reform? this is going to be a signature issue for the president in the second term. what are you hopeful for? >> well, i think the president has been talking a fair amount about the need to move forward on immigration reform. and i am also very hopeful, even though i'm not the optimist by nature, because i think that republicans and democrats are actually having conversations about driving it forward.
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so in many ways, and perhaps ironically, i hope that immigration may set a course where members of both parties can come together on this issue. and maybe it spills over into other issues. >> where do you think the republicans are going to move on immigration? >> well, the interesting thing is this. immediately after the election, you started hearing from significant republican voices the need to really tackle this issue of the population who is currently in the country and figure out how to do legalization with an eventual path to citizenship. marco rubio, senator marco rubio has been talking about that, and we have champions on the democratic side. so i think here we have a potential new dynamic, which is rather than one party focusing on the other, they're focusing on what the electorate said. and that's the pressure and space to go forward. >> terry, what about the violence against women act? the 112th congress failed to pass a reauthorization of that.
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what are your expectations now? >> i think eric cantor is going to try to block that and shame on him. i think there are a number of republicans, and frankly we have a stronger house now than the 113th. we have a significantly stronger senate which did pass a good bill in the 112th congress. so we are going to face hurdles. eric cantor has simply refused to pass it in the lame duck session because he couldn't get past the idea that tribal authorities would have jurisdiction over perpetrators of sexual assault. i've heard it said what does that make him -- he is coddling rapist. i'm not going to say whether he is or not. but that is certainly the impression he has given to some people. >> the republicans met just a few days ago down in virginia. they don't want to talk about rain, okay. they're counseled here on what to say., okay. they're counseled here on what to sa, okay. they're counseled here on what to sap, okay. they're counseled here on what to sae, okay. they're counseled here on what to say.
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do you think that they will change their policies towards women at all, or are we going to see these states run by radical governors continue this agenda to chip away at abortion rights? >> bobby jindal, who has national aspirations, he is the governor of louisiana, and he has laid it out. he said we do not need to change our agenda. we just need to change the way we talk about it. >> that doesn't work. >> it's not going to work. but let him try, because we will continue to defeat politicians who behave that way. >> clarissa, president obama received 71% of the latino vote. how do republicans close that gap? what do crew think they're going to do? >> well, that's one of the reasons that the election was a game-changing moment in the narrative for immigration. because i think that republicans are realizing that latinos are really affected by the tone of the debate at a personal level, in an overall level. in order for republicans to rebuild their relationship and be able to start even a conversation with latinos, they must address this issue, and they must address it in a way that really strikes at the core
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of latinos' aspiration, which is legalization with a path to citizenship. the good news is the conversations are going there. and democrats, frankly need t, demonstrate they can deliver on promises made. >> okay. terry o'neill, clarissa martinez, great to have you with us tonight. thank you so much. seneca falls, selma and stonewall. three watershed moments in our nation's history get name checked in the president's inaugural address. next, i'll talk about the cultural impact with jonathan alter and dr. james peterson. we're waiting the speech of vice president biden. he is scheduled to speak within the hour. we'll bring you those comments within the hour, here on msnbc, the place for politics. we're right back. people have doubts about taking aspirin for pain.
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truths, that all of us are created equal is the star that guided our forebearers through seneca falls and selma and stonewall. >> welcome back to "the ed show." the second inaugural address of america's first black president included references to three cultural milestones in our nation's history. the first women's rights conversation, a watershed civil rights march, and the first public battle for gay rights in this country. by including the stonewall riots alongside the events at seneca falls, new york and selma, the president classified the struggle for gay rights as a broader struggle for civil rights. and president obama went even further and made history by becoming the first president to mention the word gay and recognize the issue of gay rights in an inaugural address. >> our journey is not competlpe
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>> our journey is not competlpl until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. >> let's turn to msnbc political analysts and bloomberg view columnist jonathan alter. also with us dr. james peterson, director of africana studies and associate professor of english at lehigh university. gentlemen, great to have you with us. jonathan, you first. quite the social contract that the president made today. your thoughts. >> it did. he was able to both look back and connect what we're doing now in this country to the whole history of what we owe each other. going back not just to the declaration of independence, but the american social contract of the 1930s with these insurance programs that as he indicated, allow people to do more with their lives if they know that they're insured against real poverty. but by talking about gay rights, i think this someone of the things he will be remembered for. i don't think he assumed when he
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ran for president that this would be -- loom as large as it has. the country has come a huge distance in a fairly short period of time. and instead of it just being another interest group, it's now in the american grain, along with civil rights and women's rights. this is a hugely important day for gay americans. >> where does he go with marriage equality on this, on the heels of this speech? >> well, i think he tries -- the government has already under obama intervened against the defense of marriage act in court and filed briefs against it. there is only so much that he can do. a lot of it is up to the supreme court. but at a symbolic level, which is tremendously important in these things, he has elevated it to a place it has not been before in this country. >> professor, you're thoughts o the speech today. how did this speech differ from
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the one he gave four years ago? >> well, i think there were a few more shout outs to policy. it was less rhetorical and more about the sort of vision that he has for what he wants to try to get done in this term, but also acknowledging at least a little bit the coalition of people that put this re-election in place, you know, to really address women directly, and to talk about seneca falls, and to have that as a sort of centerpiece that we're talking about tonight is very, very important. remember, women voters, not only do they vote somewhat overwhelmingly for this president, but as we look to the future, women voters will become more and more important in the electoral process at the presidential level, and also at the state level. and so president obama understands the role that women play, the role that the lgbt community plays, not just in his re-election, but in american electoral and presidential politics going forward. so those shout-outs, like you're mentioning here, ed, are actually extremely important to
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understanding how this coalition of voters will work, and also beginning the process of the democratic party has to do in terms of wrestling with the coalition they put together. >> okay. gentlemen, let's go live now to vice president joe biden delivering his remarks at the salute to heroes inaugural ball. here is the vice president. ♪ >> how you doing? well, good evening. [ cheering ] i am -- i am jill biden's husband, and i came along with my whole family, which is standing over there in the wings. major beau biden spent a year in iraq, and his wife halle. we have a lot of -- please be seated, please be seated. we have a lot of bad judgment in my family. my son, who is over 40, just joined the united states navy, is about to be sworn in as an officer, hunter biden.
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and kathleen, the love of my life and the life of my love and her husband howard. and bernie, it's good to be with you, senator, and congressman jeff miller and commander and our national commander and all the dignitaries that are here. folks, i want to thank you all. it's truly, truly a great privilege to be here tonight with so many. and i don't use this phrase lightly, brave women and men who have served our country with such extraordinary, extraordinary valor and distinction. the greek historian, yeah, right, thucydidies, i have trouble saying it, could have been talking about the people in this room when he said, and i
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want to quote him, the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them -- glory and danger alike, and yet go out and meet it. that's the definition of all of you in this room. you have met every challenge this country has faced, and you have done it in every generation with such extraordinary bravery and skill. our veterans, our veterans are i think unique in the world in that every single generation has risen to the occasion from world war ii to korea, vietnam, the gulf, iraq, afghanistan, and lots of places i didn't even mention. and in each and every circumstance, the next generation that comes along astounds the one that went before it. you've met danger and glory with equal measure, and you've always, always, not only won, but made our country proud of you. it's a real honor to be here tonight with i'm told 25 medal
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of honor recipients. as a matter of fact, it's not an honor, it's literally humbling. you are such incredible soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines. you've served with -- i thought so! you've served, although my son doesn't share your view, either one of them. but i want you to know that. although i admire you. you've served with such amazing distinction from iwo jima to afghanistan, all the way up into the kunar valley. i've watched you with such admiration. you've fought decades apart, but there is one incredible connection. it's like a -- it's like a blood vessel runs through you from generation to generation. your devotion to your country, the full measure which you give that devotion, it's a commitment that defines everyone in this room, and every man and woman who has put on a uniform to serve this nation.
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i know you know this, commander, but just since 9/11, over three million, 3,300,000 women and men have joined our military with the near certain knowledge that they would be called to serve in a battle zone, the near certain knowledge. 1.7 million brave women and men have walked across those god awful sands of iraq and those god forsaken mountains and plains in afghanistan. tougher terrain none of you, none of you, no matter what war you fought in, have matched, have met. you have matched, but not exceeded. this generation has met every single challenge that has been put before it with incredible bravery. i think those that have gone before you would say what i say, and i think it's a fact. you are the finest warriors the world has ever seen, the finest
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warriors the world has ever, ever, ever, ever seen. [ applause ] and it's because -- >> speaking at the heroes ball. we are awaiting comments from the president of the united states at the commander in chief's ball. and of course we will join that when we come back and continue our discussion with jonathan alter and dr. james peterson. stay with us. you're watching "the ed show" on msnbc. your smile. like other precious things that start off white, it yellows over time. when it comes to your smile, if you're not whitening, you're yellowing. crest whitestrips whiten as well as $500 professional treatments. guaranteed. crest 3d white whitestrips. [ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪
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into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or turn 30-million artifacts... ♪ into a high-tech masterpiece? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it. president barack obama arriving at the commanders in chief ball. and let's pick up the president's comments here on msnbc. >> let me begin by just saying you all dress up pretty nice. i hope everybody is having a wonderful time. now those of you who are in uniform, you look outstanding. your dates do look better, though.
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i just want to point this out. i'm not going to give a long speech. what i really want to do is come down and express the extraordinary gratitude not just of me as your commander in chief, but more importantly, the thanks of all the american people. i want to start by thanking some of our outstanding leaders who are here. our hosts, our senior enlisted advisers from all five branches of our military. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general marty dempsey, who promised to sing some time tonight. so you should hold him to it. the vice-chairman sandy winfield, and all our outstanding members of the joint
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chiefs. our secretary of veterans affairs and vietnam veteran rick shinseki, who is here. and we're honored to be joined by some truly extraordinary and we're honored to be joined by some truly extraordinary americans, our wounded warriors who inspire us with their incredible strength and resolve. [ cheering ] our enlisted men and women and junior officers, the backbone of our military. [ cheering ] our amazing military families. including the families of the fallen. our gold star families. we will stand with you always. the members of the legendary tuskegee airmen in the house.
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and the recipients of our nation's highest military decoration, the medal of honor. we are honored by your presence. you know, today we experienced the majesty of our democracy, a ritual only possible in a form of government that is of and by and for the people. a day made possible because there are patriots like each and every one of you who defend our freedom every single day. so this little party is just another way to say something we can never say enough, thank you. thank you for volunteering, thank you for stepping up, thank
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you for keeping us strong, thank you for always making us proud. i have no greater honor than being your commander in chief. [ cheering ] it's because of you that with honor we were able to end the war in iraq. because of you that we delivered justice to osama bin laden. because of you that it's even possible to give afghans a chance to determine their own destiny. we are going forward, and we'll keep our military the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.
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now, tonight we're also joined by some of our service members in afghanistan. they can't see us, but we can see them on this monitor. who we got there, general? are you there, abe? >> sir, good evening, mr. president. congratulations on your inauguration. it is major general abrams, commanding general 3rd infantry division. we're honored to be able to join you there this evening. sir, i'm joined tonight by some fantastic airmen and noncommissioned officers and soldiers serving here in kandahar. >> congratulations, mr. president, first class orlando jackson, lake charles, louisiana, 3rd infantry division, light horse. i want to congratulate you, a job well done. >> mr. president, master sergeant robert, superintendent, 807th expeditionary air support squadron, hailing from detroit, michigan. i want to say go tigers. >> good evening, mr. president. my name is sergeant first class
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david wood. i'm out of monument, colorado, third infantry division, falcon brigade, task force lighthorse. thank you very much for having us here at your party. congratulations. >> good evening, mr. president. the operations superintendent, the 807th expeditionary operation support squadron, and the world's greatest air force. i want to say congratulations on tonight, and you guys have a blessed evening. >> mr. president, we're honored to be able to join you tonight, and we've got one more thing for all of you there. >> for all of you there, we know it's tough being away from your families. we know the incredible sacrifices and challenges that
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you meet every single day. but i can tell you that you've got a room full of patriots here. [ cheering ] and although i've got to admit that they're a little spiffied up right now, their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty is at one with every single one of the folks who are in kandahar right now. and i want you to know that when i was standing on the steps of the capitol today, looking out over close to a million people, the single biggest cheer that i always get, and today was no different at any inauguration, was when i spoke about the extraordinary men and women in uniform that preserve our freedom and keep our country
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strong. [ cheering ] so know that every single day we are thinking of you. we're going to make sure that you've got the equipment, the strategy, the mission that allows you to succeed and keep our country safe. know that we are going to be looking after and thinking about your families every single day, and that when you get back home, you're going to be greeted by a grateful nation, and that you will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in afghanistan is completed. can everybody please give our comrades in arms a huge round of applause. [ cheering and applause ] and please all of you give our very best to your families back home, because i know it's just as tough, if not tougher for them to see you in harm's way
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and away from the family. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. thank you. there is one last thing i've got to do. i've got a date with me here. she inspires me every day. she makes me a better man and a better president. the fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love and grace and strength. i'm just lucky to have her. i said today at the lunch over
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at the congress that some may dispute the quality of our president, but nobody disputes the quality of our first lady. ladies and gentlemen, my better half, and my dance partner, michelle obama. [ cheering ] >> and now, please welcome grammy and academy award winner, jennifer hudson. ♪ ♪ let's stay together, i'm loving you, whether, whether, now, whether now, whether times
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